The skyfire struck somewhere far in the distance, but the light still radiated enough to reach a pair of young elfin eyes. Rill’s eyes were scrunched from the smile that played across his small face as he watched from the entrance to his father’s den.
“Rill!” said a familiar voice from behind him, “Would you close the den-flap already!”
His sister, Crackle, was wrapped up in her furs. He turned to look at his older sister and closed the flap with a sigh. Maybe he should have tried harder to stay in his mother’s den today. Normally Quick Fang wouldn’t care if he watched as long as she didn’t get wet while he looked at the storm. Still, he knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to stay in his mother’s den, at least for tonight. She was in a foul mood over the last hunt, and it wasn’t a good idea for anyone to be around her at the moment. Still, he was having a hard time deciding what was worse, dealing with his mother’s current mood, or being cooped up during a storm.
Rill sighed and walked over to the bed-bowl where his sister sat, so tense. He knew that she didn’t like storms, though he couldn’t understand it. To him, they were interesting and fun to play in. He sat down beside her, pulling his legs up and wrapping his arms around them.
“Why are you so afraid of storms?” he asked, staring at the den-flap, watching it twitch a little with the wind.
Crackle stared at him, surprised by her younger brother’s blunt question. She shifted, trying to make herself more comfortable; knowing between the storm and cubsitting her brother it was going to be a long night.
“It’s because of the skyfire beasts," she said as simply as she could. “There was one time when I wasn’t much older than you are now. I was outside playing in the mud, while Mother called to me to come inside, but I refused.”
Crackle could see that her brother was already keenly interested in the story, even if he refused to outwardly admit it.
She continued, “I went into the forest to see what would come out during the rain, when I saw it.” She raised her arms, holding her fur blanket, making her look a fair size larger then she actually was. “There was a giant pair of eyes, glowing at me from the darkness. I would have thought they were a wolf’s if they weren’t so high from the ground and so large.”
Rill’s eyes were wide, completely enveloped with his sister’s story. He barely breathed as if the noise would call the beast.
“It then stepped toward me, showing me its face. It looked like a marshbeast but it stood on its hind legs, and had paws with claws instead of hooves, and thick muscled arms. It roared at me, sounding just like thunder.” She started to whisper so her brother would have to strain to hear, “That’s when it sent. He told me it was hungry, and I was the perfect meal.”
Rill gasped, terrified for his sister in the story.
Crackle wanted to smile, but the story wasn’t done yet. “It charged at me, swinging its claws. I ran as fast as I could to the Dentrees, but I slipped!” At this there was a crack of thunder from outside. Crackle looked at the flap, knowing her brother would take it as her looking for the beast, not her normal fear. “It was almost on me. It swung at me, but out of nowhere Mother and Father showed up. Father threw one of his nets over its head to distract it, while Mother shot it in the eyes with her bow. It toppled to the ground dead. That’s when Mother told me what they were, skyfire beasts. They love to eat elf-cubs, and that’s why she didn’t want me to go out in the rain.”
Rill watched as his sister settled back down. His heart was hammering in his chest, as if he had been the one running from the beast.
“I —” he started, losing any words that came to him as the light from another bolt of skyfire struck and the light peeked around the edges of the den-flap. Rill jumped a bit.
Crackle watched her brother, trying to figure out what he was going to do. She watched as he stood up and walked to the den-flap.
“I don’t want to listen to any more of your stories,” he said a little shakily. Rill left his Father’s den, waving a farewell to his sister.
Crackle stood, and looked out the den door, seeing her brother’s blonde hair head to his mother’s den. So he would take Quick Fang’s temper over hearing any more about the skyfire beasts - brave cub. Crackle jumped at the sound of a fresh wave of thunder. She shut the den-flap, headed back to the bed-bowl, and waited for the eventual wrath of Quick Fang.